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HONOR Magic V2 Ultimate: The foldable thinner than a ballpoint pen

The HONOR Magic V2 is the world's thinnest foldable but it doesn't want to compromise on strength, battery, or camera.
By
September 1, 2023

With the durability question more or less answered, foldable phones have set their sights on a familiar new frontier: thinness. Normally, making a phone thinner and thinner means less available space for big batteries, worse thermal performance, less impressive cameras, and an overall flimsier device. With the HONOR Magic V2 Ultimate, HONOR is tackling all of these problems at once.

The HONOR Magic V2 Ultimate is the world’s thinnest foldable phone. That might not mean much in a world where everything is the “world’s something-est” but when you see a fold-flat foldable thinner than a ballpoint pen, it’s hard not to be impressed. It truly is a feat of engineering.

Honor Magic V2 Ultimate folded next to a ballpoint pen
Kris Carlon / Android Authority

At just 9.9mm thick (when folded), the Magic V2 is thinner than some regular slab phones. For comparison, it’s only a bit over a millimeter thicker than the iPhone 14 Pro Max. Despite being foldable, the V2 is actually lighter than the iPhone.

Add to that a 5,000mAh battery, dual 120Hz LTPO OLED panels, and a camera setup mostly ripped from the excellent HONOR Magic 5 Pro, and the Magic V2 should make you sit up and pay attention.

So, what else is cool about the HONOR Magic V2 Ultimate? For starters, it’s cool. It has a 0.22mm-thick Bionic Cooling System, which is what HONOR calls its vapor chamber. The chamber is 12.5% larger than on the previous generation and, combined with graphite and thermal gel, it promises to address thermals in an unfolded phone that is less than a half-centimeter thick. Everything here is powered by the latest and greatest Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 mobile platform and 16GB of RAM.

I ran a few sideloaded benchmarks and was quite surprised it didn’t heat up more (I won’t share screenshots of the results here as the Magic V2 I have is currently running non-final software). By comparison, I can barely take a half-hour video call on the Pixel Fold without it doing its best impression of the Terminator descending into a vat of molten metal.

Honor Magic V2 Ultimate unfolded with included stylus
Kris Carlon / Android Authority

The split-cell 5,000mAh silicon-carbon battery also supports 66W wired charging (but no wireless charging). The 66W charging brick comes in the box along with a nifty shell case with a stand attachment.

Speaking of the box, the Ultimate edition I got also includes the HONOR Magic Pencil stylus, although due to the non-final software limitations I mentioned it doesn’t currently work with my review unit. HONOR tells me the stylus is supported on both the internal and external displays and it utilizes a “self-developed stroke prediction algorithm” for better accuracy and speed, with 0.42ms input latency.

As for those displays, they look great. HONOR’s default wallpaper is a bit bland and the theme engine and wallpaper gallery are not included in this software build, but they certainly stack up on paper. Both the internal and external screens are 120Hz adaptive refresh rate OLED panels, with 3,840Hz PWM dimming, 2,500-nit peak brightness on the smaller screen, and 1,600-nit peak brightness on the internal display.

The external screen has a 91.2% screen-to-body ratio and follows a 20:9 aspect ratio. Honor’s second-generation nanocrystal glass is used on the exterior display and promises a 30% improvement in drop resistance. The internal screen has a squarish 9.78:9 aspect ratio and uses transparent Colorless Polyimide (CPI) film and not Ultra-Thin Glass (UTG). How this will fare over time with a stylus in regular use we’ll have to wait and see.

Honor Magic V2 Ultimate propped up using stand case
Kris Carlon / Android Authority

One big upside of the internal screen is the near-invisible crease. It’s certainly there if you go looking for it, but it’s less noticeable than on the already-good Magic Vs and looks to be no hindrance at all to visibility or usage.

The hinge mechanism has received some upgrades, with HONOR employing a titanium alloy for weight and strength reasons, combined with HONOR’s proprietary steel. The hinge is rated to 400,000 folds — that’s ten years of opening or closing it 100 times per day — as were the original Magic V and Magic Vs. That’s despite the Magic V2 employing a 75% thinner hinge support structure than that found on the Magic Vs.

Honor Magic V2 Ultimate command center closeup
Kris Carlon / Android Authority

I did some light bend tests and the structure of the phone feels sturdy enough, similar to the Magic Vs, and the hinge held up fine. Some people will naturally manage to break it but that is true of any device. My first impression, however, is that the Magic V2’s extreme thinness doesn’t immediately look like it’ll be a weak point for mainstream users. The hinge stops at any angle allowing for flexibility with taking hands-free photos, watching videos, or taking video calls.

From my short time with the Magic V2 Ultimate so far, I’ve been impressed by its heat management, battery capacity, and charging speed, overall design and thinness, and understated good looks. Small accents like the pattern on the hinge or the colored HONOR logo and rim of the camera bump combine well with the black vegan leather back panel. This is the only version that breaks the 1cm barrier by the way, the glass-backed versions are 10.1 mm thick and are marginally heavier than the vegan leather.

HONOR Magic V2
Displays
Exterior:
- 6.43-inch OLED
- 120Hz refresh rate (LTPO)
- 2,376 x 1,060 resolution
- 402ppi
- 20:9 aspect ratio
- Up to 2500 nits
- 3,840Hz PWM dimming
- Stylus support

Interior:
- 7.92-inch OLED
- 120Hz refresh rate (LTPO)
- 2,344 x 2,156 resolution
- 402ppi
- 9.78:9 aspect ratio
- Up to 1600 nits
- 3,840Hz PWM dimming
- Stylus support
Processor
Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
- 1×Cortex-X3 core @3.36GHz

- 2×Cortex-A715 cores @2.8Hz
- 2×Cortex-A710 cores @2.8GHz
- 3×Cortex-A510 cores @2.0GHz

Adreno 740 GPU
RAM
16GB
Storage
256GB/512GB/1TB
Non-expandable storage
Power
5,000mAh battery
66W wired charging
(charger in box)
No wireless charging
Cameras
Exterior rear:
- 50MP main, ƒ/1.9, OIS
- 50MP ultra-wide, ƒ/2.0, OIS
- 20MP 2.5x telephoto, ƒ/2.4, OIS

Exterior front:
- 16MP, ƒ/2.2

Internal front:
- 16MP, ƒ/2.2
Audio
Dual stereo speakers
24-bit HDR 3-mic stereo voice reception
DTS: X Ultra algorithm
No 3.5mm headphone port
SIM and connectivity
Dual nano-SIM tray
NFC
Bluetooth 5.3 (BLE, SBC, AAC, LDAC, aptX, aptX HD)
USB-C/USB 3.1 Gen 1
Wi-Fi 7
5G NR NSA/SA, 4G TD-LTE/LTE FDD, 3G WCDMA, 2G CDMA/GSM
Biometrics
Side-mounted capacitive fingerprint sensor
Face unlock
Software
Android 13
Magic OS 7.2
Dimensions and weight
Folded dimensions:
- 156.7 x 74 x 10.1mm (9.9mm for vegan leather model)

Unfolded dimensions:
- 156.7 x 145.4 x 4.8mm (4.7mm for vegan leather model)

Weight:
- 237g
- 231g (vegan leather)
Colors
Black
Gold
Silk Purple
Silk Black (vegan leather)

Perhaps the biggest draw for me though is the one feature I could not test at all: the camera. HONOR tells me it used the main camera and ultrawide from the Magic 5 Pro. That’s a pair of 50MP shooters we called “really competitive with the best phones from Apple, Google, and Samsung” in our review. The only difference is the 2.5x telephoto camera’s sensor drops to 20MP and the main camera’s aperture is a little less wide at f/1.9 compared to the Magic 5 Pro’s f/1.6. We’ll let you know how much of a difference that makes to the camera package in our full review.

The HONOR Magic V2 Ultimate is currently only available in China at a starting price of 8,999 yuan (~$1,255) for the 16GB/256GB model. Despite being shown off at IFA 2023, we’ll have to wait until Q1, 2024 to get pricing and availability info for the global version. Nevertheless, HONOR has listed the device on its website in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK. These listings don’t include a price but we’re guessing that it’ll start at €1,599 (~$1,735) at the very least, much like the Magic Vs.